The good thing about being your own opening act is that you don’t have to worry
about getting upstaged. But that’s not the impetus that attracted Davey Pierce
and Nicholas Dobbratz, the bassist and multi-instrumentalist, respectively, for
acclaimed American indie band Of Montreal, to form their own musical project,
“I just fell in love with synthesizers and sequencers,”
said Pierce last week in London, on the road with both Yip Deceiver and Of
Montreal, as part of a tour that will see them arrive in Tel Aviv on May 7 for a
show at the Barby Club. The rhythmic electro-pop excursions of Yip Deceiver may
not sound like Of Montreal, but they aren’t that far removed thematically from
that sprawling Athens, Georgia, unit.
Orchestrated by charismatic and
eccentric frontman Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal’s working method since 1996 has
been that anything goes. Over nearly a dozen and a half albums –
including last year’s much-praised Paralytic Stalks
– Barnes has led Of Montreal
– which also features his wife Nina and his brother David – through diverse
musical avenues ranging from Beatley psychedelia, Prince-inspired funk and Bowie
glam to vaudeville and afro beats. While the band may not be a household
name, most households in the US have probably heard their music, which has often
been licensed for TV commercials (“Every Day Feels Like Sunday” by NASDAQ; “A
Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger” by Comcast; and “Gronlandic Edit” by
In addition, their 2010 album False Priest
– produced by hit
maker Jon Brion – offered a more accessible, organic sound than some of their
previous more experimental work.
For Pierce, who joined the band in 2007,
Of Montreal provides him with a challenging task – to help the everambitious
Barnes actualize onstage the complex music he makes in the studio.
the records, Kevin is doing everything – they’re his songs. But as far as the
live show goes, it’s pretty collaborative,” said Pierce. “We try to keep it as
close as possible to the album as we can, but there are a lot of layers there
and tons of instruments that we can’t reproduce onstage. So that’s where the
collaborative effort comes in, rewriting and arranging things a little to make
them more cohesive within what an eight-piece band can produce.”
also makes his presence felt on the visual side of the theatrical band,
designing props and costumes for the False Priest tour, a process that saw him
learning how to weld and cut fiberglass.
“I always wanted to learn how to
weld, so I went out and did it. That stuff is fun for me,” he said.
so is performing with Yip Deceiver, where Pierce, a Florida native, can shed the
support role he plays in Of Montreal and take center stage to go wild on his
portable keyboard. Yip Deceiver’s experimental dance pop provides strong hooks
and a playful combination of 1980s new wave and electro.
For the veteran
of innumerable punky sloppy, guitar-based bands over the last 20 years, Pierce’s
transition to electronica has been a refreshing one.
“This new avenue
I’ve been going down has been really enjoyable. I get to go out in front and
jump around on stage and do whatever I want and not be tethered by that guitar
cord,” he said.
Pierce is quick to point out that Yip Deceiver, which has
released a self-titled EP, is a completely separate entity from Of Montreal,
adding that it’s imperative for him that the band is not labeled as a side
However, sometimes circumstances – like a European tour – enable
Pierce to fuel both his outlets at the same time.
“Actually, we don’t
usually open for Of Montreal – it’s a totally different situation and a
different band,” he said. “But since we’re both in Europe now, it works out
fine. Yip Deceiver is staying on for another three weeks after the Of Montreal
tour ends. Our goal is to tour constantly, and being in two bands certainly
It also doubles the laundry bill, as not only in an effort to
keep band identities separate but also as a basic hygienic measure, Pierce and
Dobbratz change clothes between Yip Deceiver’s and Of Montreal’s
“We tend to sweat a lot, so to go out and sweat again in the same
clothes is just disgusting,” he laughed.
One thing Pierce isn’t laughing
about, though, is making his first trip to Israel, an eventuality that finds him
anticipatory, but in a good way.
“We’re all so excited about it, with
absolutely no apprehensions, just positive thoughts. I’m trying to keep my
expectations open. Our sound man has been to Israel a couple times with Why, and
he keeps telling us how amazing it is. I have to keep telling him to stop -
‘Don’t tell me anything!’ – I want to experience it for myself.”
could probably be said for seeing Of Montreal and Yip Deceiver - you should
experience them for yourself.